In Praise of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38)
By William Walter Kay
In the May 2, 2011 election Prime Minister Harper and his Conservatives capped 5 years of leading minority governments by winning a majority of House of Commons seats. In the next 10 months they:
- pulled Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change;
- delivered notices of impending redundancy to 3,500 civil servants employed in 3 bastions of state enviro-activism (Parks Canada, Environment Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada);
- slashed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s budget by 43%;
- cut 10% from the budget of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (the principal propaganda organ of Canadian environmentalists);
- discontinued funding for the EcoENERGY retro-fit and renewable energy programs
- publically denounced Canadian environmentalists for: (a) hijacking consultation processes, (b) accepting funding from foreign radicals, and (c) laundering political money behind a curtain of charitable activity;
- allocated $8 million to the Canada Revenue Agency to investigate the improper use of charitable donations (a move aimed at environmental non-profit societies);
- eliminated the $547,000-a-year stipend for the 34-year-old Canadian Environmental Network (a pivotal non-profit within the Canadian green movement);
- eliminated funding for sacred green cows like the Experimental Lakes Area, Prairie Shelterbelt, etc.
These salvos onto the environmentalists’ camp are of trifling consequence compared to the Harper government’s Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38)…
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38)
The BOSO Coalition
Canada's Environmentalist Vanguard
Canada's Green Academic Establishment
Clash of the Titans
The Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act (Bill C-38)
Bill C-38’s first reading was on April 26, 2012. It passed second reading on May 14 and was sent to the Finance Committee. This committee’s report was presented to parliament on June 7. After an 800-amendment filibuster and nearly 2 days of round-the-clock voting, the report achieved concurrence on June 14. Bill C-38 was given its third and final reading on June 18th 2012 and then sent to the Senate.
Bill C-38’s long name is An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures. Its short name is Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act. Its media names were “budget implementation bill” or more ominously the “omnibus bill” (because its 753 sections amended over 60 statutes and filled 425 pages).
Much of Bill C-38 deals with housekeeping tax changes needed to implement Budget 2012.
On the other hand, all 7 divisions of Bill C-38’s Part III (Responsible Resource Development), and 7 out of 56 divisions in Part IV (Various Measures), concern environmental matters. Together, these 14 divisions signal a fundamental shift in Canadian environmental policy. The guiding principle underlying Bill C-38 is a quest for an expedited “one project one review” environmental assessment regime. In addition, Bill C-38 weakens two federal authorities hitherto very obstructive of resource development: Fisheries and Endangered Species.
Bill C-38 repealed Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) 1992 and replaced it with CEAA 2012.
Presently 40 federal agencies do environmental assessments, often of trivial proposals. Agriculture Canada did environmental assessments of proposals to build a pump-house at a maple syrup mill and to install a machine that rinses blueberries with water. Fisheries officials demand environmental assessments before approving the construction of small boat launches. There are many examples of enviro-assessments being done with regards to the replacement of existing equipment.
Under CEEA 2012 enviro-assessments will be the preserve of three entities: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), and National Energy Board (NEB). (The Environment Minister may allow other “responsible authorities” to perform assessments.)
Bill C-38 promotes the forging of joint panels where jurisdictions overlap.
The new CEAA regime does not apply to the NEB or CNSC. Mackenzie Valley issues are dealt with separately and in conjunction with the Mackenzie Valley Environment Impact Review Board.
Under CEAA 1992 certain projects automatically triggered assessments. CEAA 2012 replaces the trigger system with a regime focused on “designated projects.” While the regulations defining “designated project” have not been published, official statements suggest CEAA 2012’s scope will be limited to major projects either on federal lands or having trans-boundary issues or impacting a federal mandate (aboriginals, fish, migratory birds, etc).
The new process begins with a screening to determine if an assessment is needed. Project proponents will provide the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (“Agency”) with a description of the project. Within 10 days the Agency shall let the proponent know if this description contains enough information. If the description is adequate, the Agency will post a notice of the project on the Internet and invite commentary. The Agency has 45 days to determine if an assessment is necessary. (Under the previous system, major projects sometimes waited nearly a year before the Agency began its review.)
There will be general assessments and Review Panel assessments. General assessments must be completed by the Agency within 365 days and must entertain comments from the public.
Within 60 days of a proposal’s filing, the Environment Minister may refer the matter to a Review Panel which has 24 months to report back to the Minister. Public participation in Panel deliberations are limited to persons directly affected by the project and are not open to the public at large as under CEAA 1992.
The Minister may terminate a Panel if it appears unlikely to submit its report on time. The Agency then completes the report.
The Minister may pass an assessment over to a provincial government agency.
The main purpose of any federal assessment will be to determine if the proposed project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. In all circumstances, Cabinet reserves the right to disregard assessment findings.
The transition period between CEAA 1992 and CEAA 2012 is contentious. Ongoing screenings and studies will proceed uninterrupted. Major assessments commenced under CEEA 1992 will come under CEEA 2012 rules; hence, the Minister may impose time limits.
Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline assessment began in December 2009. Hearings are scheduled to go to until September 2012, and a decision is not expected until 2013. This could abruptly change.
Bill C-38 revamps National Energy Board Act provisions regarding trans-boundary pipelines and power lines. The amendments augment the power of Cabinet, Natural Resources Minister, and NEB Chair. Collateral amendments to the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act further increase ministerial discretion. Moreover, NEB decisions regarding trans-boundary pipelines and power lines are exempted from the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
NEB Act amendments make 2 dozen references to time limits. To expedite matters, the NEB Chair may assign more officials to a file or may place a single person in charge of a file. NEB enviro-assessments must be completed within 15 months. NEB assessors may only discuss matters relevant to the project at hand and may only entertain comments from “interested parties.” The NEB’s final decision is only a recommendation to Cabinet, who may override it.
Bill C-38’s amendments to the Fisheries Act seek to spike a power-grab by eco-zealots within Fisheries and Oceans Canada (FOC). There have been many recent horror stories about FOC officials claiming authority over irrigation ditches or flooded farmers’ fields. If minnows appear in a puddle, FOC officials appear soon after. (On the other hand, the lobbying to amend this Act came not mainly from farmers but from pipeline interests.)
Bill C-38 restricts federal authority to only those schools of fish that are actually being harvested on a regular basis, i.e. where there is a genuine public interest in the fish. Federal authority is narrowed to ongoing aboriginal, recreational, and commercial fisheries. Nine amendments consist of merely adding the phrase “aboriginal, recreational, and commercial” before the word “fishery.”
Bill C-38 repeals the existing regime regarding harmful alterations of fish habitat but does not clearly spell out an alternative regime. Future changes, to be announced by Cabinet, will likely permit activities harmful yet not permanent.
Fisheries Act amendments augment the power of the Fisheries Minister to: (a) grant exemptions, (b) define “ecologically significant areas” and determine what work may be permitted thereon, and (c) transfer matters to a province if the province drafts legislation similar to federal legislation.
Under the existing Species at Risk Act (SARA), permits to engage in activities impinging upon endangered species’ habitat are for a maximum of 5 years. This renders many long-term industrial operations impossible. Bill C-38 gives the Environment Minister power to issue, approve, and, importantly, to readily renew SARA permits.
Other notable Bill C-38 provisions:
Canadian Environmental Protection Act amendments allow the Environment Minister to readily renew permits for waste disposal at sea.
Parks Canada Agency Act amendments give Cabinet broad powers to change park schedules and regulations.
Seismic exploration for mineral resources is exempted from the Coasting Trade Act.
The National Roundtable in the Environment and the Economy is terminated.
The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act is repealed.
The BOSO Coalition
Soon after Bill C-38’s first reading, a coalition of 11 environmental groups sprang forth to vent their dismay and outrage. The Black Out Speak Out (BOSO) coalition urged like-minded groups to black out their websites on June 4 to protest Harper’s “attack on nature and democracy.” (Less intrepid groups merely installed a closable ‘Black Out Speak Out’ splash-page.)
The original info-blurb on the BOSO website denounced the oil industry 8 times in 400 words. An updated screed mentioned the oil industry 4 times while adding references to global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. The main slogan remained: “Silence is no longer an option.”
The BOSOs kicked off their campaign on May 7 by purchasing large ads in the Globe and Mail, La Presse, and Hill Times. By June 4 they had 530 partnering organizations; 125 were environmental groups.
BOSO’s 11 founders are: Nature Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, World Wildlife Fund Canada, Environmental Defence, Ecojustice, West Coast Environmental Law, David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace Canada, Sierra Club of Canada, Pembina Institute, and Equiterre.
Nature Canada (NC) is an umbrella organization for 350 Canadian nature organizations. NC dates to Reginald Whittemore’s 1939 launch of Canadian Nature magazine. NC has 40,000 supporters and a staff of 12. NC lists several Canadian foundations and 3 federal bureaucracies (CEAA, Parks Canada, and Canadian International Development Agency) as funders. NC’s annual budgets average just under $3 million.
Established in 1963, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) now boasts a national office and 13 semi-independent regional chapters. Altogether CPAWS has 60 full-time employees and a gross annual budget of $7 million. CPAWS’s oft-repeated mission is to thwart development on 50% of Canada’s land mass.
Two interesting personages on CPAWS’s board are Andre Valillee and Tim Gray. Valillee oversees environmental grant-giving for the Ontario government’s Ontario Trillium Foundation – arguably Canada’s largest funder of enviro-non-profits ($13 million in enviro-grants in 2010). Gray oversees enviro-grant giving for the Ivey Foundation.
World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) claims 150,000 supporters. 55,000 volunteers participated in their recent annual litter pick-up. A bevy of major foundations and big businesses provide much of WWF-Canada’s $23 million annual budget. Their 2011 Annual Report names 30 “senior staff.” Their overall payroll is probably 70-ish. WWF-Canada has 9 offices.
Gerald Butts has been WWF-Canada CEO since 2008. Previously he was Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Principal Secretary. Butts attended the 2007 Bilderberg Conference.
Fellow board member Seamus O’Regan was an assistant to former Federal Environment Minister Jean Charest. The flamboyantly gay O’Regan co-hosted CTV’s nationally broadcast morning talk show Canada AM for 9 years before becoming a lead correspondent for CTV National News.
Environmental Defence was founded in 1984. ED takes credit for the 2005 creation of the 1.8 million acre Green Zone around Toronto. ED’s anti-petroleum obsession is fixated on Alberta’s oil sands. ED has 25 employees and an annual budget of $3.5 million.
ED’s President and Chair, Robert Davies, is a principal of the elite Toronto architectural firm Montgomery Sisam. He personally designed Toronto’s Granite Club and Island Yacht Club.
The litigious Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund) appeared in 1990. They now have 30,000 supporters and annual revenues of $5 million. Fifteen of their 46 staffers are lawyers. They also employ scientists.
Former Supreme Court of Canada judge Claire L’Heureux-Dube is an honorary Ecojustice director.
Western Canada Environmental Law (WECL) gets much of its $1.2 million annual budget from a quasi-state enterprise: the B.C. Law Foundation. WECL has 8 employees. Executive Director Jessica Clogg is a lawyer specializing in aboriginal law who has been with WECL for 17 years. The board consists of lawyers, professors, and a Vice-President of the B.C. Government Employees Union.
The David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) was established in 1990. The Dalai Suzuki himself recently resigned from DSF’s board so he could continue his political activism without jeopardizing the DSF’s charitable status. His wife remains DSF President and 2 of his daughters are directors. Suzuki is an honorary director of Environmental Defence and Ecojustice.
DSF has 66 full-time employees and annual revenues of $8.6 million. DSF’s major benefactors are a dozen mostly Canadian foundations.
DSF Chair James Hoggan is President of Hoggan & Associates – a PR firm with a litany of important clients including the B.C. and Ontario governments and the University of B.C. Hoggan also chaired the Canadian affiliate of Al Gore’s Climate Project. Hoggan founded the anti-sceptical Desmogblog website, and he authored Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. His second-in-command at Hoggan & Associates, Nancy McHarg, is an expert on public attitudes toward sustainability. McHarg is a director of West Coast Environmental Law (another Hoggan & Associates client).
Also on DSF’s board is George Stroumboulopoulos who, like Suzuki, is a CBC-modified organism. George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight is an hour-long TV talk show broadcast nationally 5 nights a week.
Greenpeace Canada (GPC) contends most of their revenues ($12 million in 2010) come from their 86,000 supporters. Total payroll at GPC’s 5 offices is difficult to assess in part because GPC is notorious for hiring low-wage canvassers. (They are currently seeking telemarketers.) Actual full-time employees number around 30. GPC Chair Ann Rowan formerly managed the DSF’s Sustainability Program.
From 1963 to 1989, Sierra Club Canada (SCC) was a branch of Sierra Club USA. In 1989 SCC set up a Canadian national office, which by 1992 was autonomous. Elizabeth May, leader of Canada’s Green Party, was SCC Executive Director from 1989 to 2006. SCC’s current Executive Director, John Bennett, is a former Greenpeacer famous for breaking into to the Bruce Nuclear reactor site.
SCC is composed of a national office, 5 chapters (with separate boards and budgets), the Sierra Youth Coalition, and an SCC Foundation. Collectively SCC employs 40 full-time staff and has annual revenues of $4 million.
In 2010, Alberta’s Pembina Institute (PI) and its conjoined twin, the Pembina Foundation (PF), have respective annual revenues of $4.6 million and $1.8 million. Most PF revenues come from large foundations, the US-based Hewlett Foundation in particular. Most PF revenues go to PI, which also receives grants and consultancy fees. PF has 1 employee. PI has 45.
Equiterre, a leading Quebec environmental group, dates to 1993. The organization currently has 40 staff and an annual budget of $3.5 million. Equiterre’s specialty is ecological economics.
(A late-comer to the BOSO coalition, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), is a small Toronto group tied to Canadian Health and Environmental Educational Research Foundation. CAPE’s website’s main page mentions the David Suzuki Foundation 3 times. DSF CEO Peter Robinson is an honorary CAPE director, as is Ivey Foundation President Bruce Lourie. CAPE is the Canadian affiliate of the Swiss-based International Society of Doctors for the Environment.)
The 11 founders of the BOSO coalition collectively employ 450 full-time staff at 50 offices across Canada. Their cumulative annual budget is $80 million. These groups have interlocking directorships, and their staff migrate from 1 group to another. They have common funders. They have identical goals and rhetoric. Their ballyhooed 1 million supporters boil down to a few hundred thousand Canadians who are members in multiple environmental groups.
The BOSO founders and their 125 partnering eco-organizations are not the sum of environmental non-profits operating in Canada. The Canadian Environmental Network (CEN) has over 600 non-profit environmental organizations as members. CEN membership is voluntary. Hundreds of enviro-groups whose names appear on provincial enviro-network lists are not CEN members.
(The BOSO coalition was not endorsed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). With annual revenues of $98 million (2010) NCC manages a larger budget than all BOSO coalition members combined. The fact that the former head of TransCanada Pipeline, Hal Kvisle, chairs NCC may have affected NCC’s decision not to join the BOSOs.)
During the week of June 4 it became apparent that responsibility for street-level protests against Bill C-38 had been farmed out to the upstart group Leadnow. They organized demonstration in 70 cities. Turn-outs were low, usually 12 to 20 protesters. On a few occasions 100 people came out. In total 2,000 people participated.
Leadnow dates to 2010 but was not formalized until March 2011. The drivers are three young climate activists including an unemployed British climate scientist and a former chair of Sierra Club’s B.C. chapter. In 2011 Leadnow raised $40,000 in small donations.
Canada's Environmentalist Vanguard
A spurious mythology has emerged wherein Canadian environmentalism is labelled an American import. True, millions of dollars do flow from US foundations (and the US government) to Canadian enviro-activist groups. However, most Canadian enviro-groups’ revenues are raised domestically.
Environmentalism is an international movement with semi-autonomous contingents in 40 countries. The movement’s high command is primarily European.
Here are some of Canada’s environmental leaders:
87-year-old Richard Ivey is a lawyer and philanthropist hailing from London, Ontario. He created the Ivey Foundation with his father who, like Richard, did a stint as Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario. (This University currently offers 100 enviro-science, enviro-engineering, and enviro-politics courses.) In 2010 the Ivey Foundation disbursed 27 grants; 25 of those grants, totalling $1.1 million, went to enviro-groups. Richard’s daughter Jennifer is a director of Environmental Defence.
73-year-old Michael de Pincier claims aristocratic lineage. Through Key Publishers Company Ltd., de Pincier launched, ran, or acquired many leading Canadian magazines (Toronto Life, Canadian Geography, Quill and Quire, and Canadian Business). He formerly chaired WWF-Canada and the Green Living Show (Canada’s largest eco-goods exhibition). He co-founded, and remains active in, Investeco Capital Corp. (a well-connected syndicate of green investors). De Pincier has substantial real estate holdings.
Richard Bonnycastle inherited the Harlequin Romance novel publishing empire, which he ultimately sold to Torstar – 1 of the many corporations he has been a director of. When not too busy managing his 20,000 acre thoroughbred horse ranch in Alberta, Bonnycastle serves as Trustee for Winnipeg’s Fort Whyte Centre for Environmental Education. In the 1960s he launched the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.
Monique Leroux is Chair, President, and CEO of Desjardins Group. She is a member of several international, including UN, organizations and is involved in a host of non-profits.
Desjardins Group was launched in 1900 by anti-usury activist and Quebec nationalist Alphonse Desjardin (1854-1920). With the crucial and relentless support of the Catholic Church, Desjardin founded 204 community banks (“caisse populaires”). In 1906 the Quebec legislature passed laws favourable to Desjardin’s crusade. Desjardin contended community banking could stem the exodus of Quebecers.
Desjardins Group has branched into insurance, asset management, and venture capital investing. The bulk of its $190 billion in assets are land based. Desjardins holds 40% of residential mortgages in Quebec and 43% of Quebec farm loans.
Over 95% of Desjardins’ 5.8 million members live in Quebec, where Desjardins has 422 caisse populaires and 888 service centres. With 44,600 employees, Desjardins is Quebec’s largest private-sector employer.
Desjardins donates $80 million a year. One philanthropic priority is creating “a more ecological world.” Another priority is reversing the exodus of youth from Quebec’s depressed regions.
Desjardins’ funding of Quebec’s Earth Day celebrations explains the gigantic turn-outs for these events in La Belle Province. Desjardins invests in sustainability ventures and shares the Quebec government’s enthusiasm for electric cars. Desjardins’ scholarship program is geared toward environmentalism.
Desjardins donates substantial sums to the David Suzuki Foundation and to Equiterre. The Chair of Equiterre is a Desjardins veteran. A Desjardins Vice-President sits on the David Suzuki Foundation board.
Arthur and James Irving are grandsons of the legendary entrepreneur K.C. Irving. Today, Irving Oil imports 300,000 barrels a day to its Saint John, New Brunswick refinery where it is processed and shipped to 800 Irving gas stations scattered across Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and New England. Another family-owned company, J.D. Irving, Limited, is a conglomerate of 300 forestry, shipbuilding, paper, media, and transportation companies.
The Irvings own vast landholdings in New Brunswick and Maine. They are the largest private-sector employer in New Brunswick where they enjoy a near monopoly of local media.
Irving companies fill brochures with boasts about their environmental achievements. They have created hundreds of small ecological parks. They are Canada’s top planter of trees. They have won numerous enviro-awards, including 1 from the US EPA. The Irvings celebrate Canadian Environment Week by having their employees volunteer to pick up trash.
Irving Oil anticipates and exploits environmental regulatory changes. They are avid promoters of the global warming hoax. In the last several years, Irving Oil sunk $300 million into tooling up for the latest enviro-fads: benzene capture and ethanol-blended fuel. Irving Oil partners with WWF-Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada. They are particularly proud of their right whale protection program.
James Irving has a passion for salmon preservation. The outdoorsman Arthur Irving spent 20 years on Ducks Unlimited’s board; 2 years as Chair.
From 1996 to 2011, Arthur was Chancellor of Acadia University (he is now Chancellor Emeritus). His legacy at Acadia includes the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre; the Harriet Irving Botanical Garden; and, most importantly, the Arthur Irving Academy for the Environment. Acadia U offers Environmental Studies B.A. programs in both its humanities and sciences faculties. Both programs emphasize ecology’s relationship to religion, literature, and politics. Acadia has a separate Environmental Sciences program. A dozen eco-groups are active on campus.
American-born Carol Newell has called British Columbia home for 20 years. She received an Order of Canada, as a Canadian citizen, in 2006. After inheriting a portion of the Rubbermaid fortune, Newell invested and/or gave away over $60 million in B.C. Between 1992 and 2010, her Endswell Foundation handed out $20 million to B.C. eco-groups. These 700 grants made Endswell, for a time, the largest B.C.-based eco-granter. Endswell money founded Tides Canada and the Hollyhock Centre.
The giddy days of giving away money gave way to a focus on for-profit ventures. She has invested in Capers Community Market, Happy Planet, Small Potatoes Urban Delivery, Shared-Vision magazine, Salt Spring Coffee, Stoneyfield Farms, and New Society Publishers. She is involved in Investeco and in a firm that manufactures reusable menstrual pads.
Newell and friends own substantial parts of B.C.’s Cortes Island. They suppress development on the parts they do not own.
Newell’s main activist hobby these days, Play Big, recruits individuals with discretionary spending of at least $15 million.
Paul Richardson, 1 of several yes-men fluttering around Newell, presides over her Renewal2 Social Investment Fund. He is also President and Chair of Ecojustice.
Stephen Bronfman (grandson of the dynasty-founding Samuel Bronfman) is Chair of Claridge, Inc.; a company started by his father in the 1980s. Clairidge is a holding company involved in food, real estate, and media businesses. Stephen was formerly a player in the organics food conglomerate Sunopta. He is now making a push into real estate in Montreal where he has taken over his grandfather’s 15,000 square foot castle. Stephen is a director of CRB Foundation and is President of both the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation and the Stephen R. Bronfman Foundation. He has been a director of David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) since the 1990s. Foundations controlled by Stephen are repeatedly listed in DSF Annual Reports as $1 million-plus contributors.
Donald Sobey is Chair Emeritus of the Nova Scotia-headquartered Empire Company Limited, a firm he ran for 30 years. The 7 Sobeys on Empire’s board are descendants of William Sobey, who began the enterprise in 1907. Donald has been a long-time director of TD Bank and TD Mortgage Investment Co. (TD Friends of the Environment Fund disbursed $3.6 million to enviro-groups in 2011).
Empire subsidiary Crombie REIT is the largest landlord in Atlantic Canada. Crombie owns 161 malls, apartment blocks, office towers, etc. Annual rents collected by Crombie (and by the related firm, Genstar) exceed $100 million.
Empire subsidiary Sobeys is owner or franchiser of 1,300 supermarkets operating under the banners: Sobeys, IGA, Thrifty Foods, and Lawton’s Drugs. Sobeys gives away $20 million a year to charities, some to environmentalist endeavors. Sobeys’ PR info is larded with enviro-propaganda.
Donald Sobey is an old supporter of WWF-Canada. In 2011 Sobeys’ Fund for Oceans gave $1.5 million to a WWF-Canada/Dalhousie University joint venture.
72-year-old Galen Weston is the grandson of Toronto bakery-tycoon George Weston (1864-1924). Galen lives in England where he has substantial investments. The bulk of his fortune remains in Canada. His net worth is around $8 billion.
George Weston Ltd. owns Weston Foods and Loblaws. The former employs 6,000 workers at 40 mega-bakeries situated across North America. Loblaws has 1,000 corporate and franchise grocery stores across Canada operating under 22 banners (Loblaws, Superstore, etc.). Loblaws has 136,000 employees. In 2011 gross sales were $31 billion and net income was $769 million. Among several Loblaws-owned brand lines are: President’s Choice, Organics-PC, and Green-PC.
Loblaws advertising and promotional literature is freighted with green messaging. A Nova Scotia Superstore was Canada’s first retail outlet with its own wind turbine. In 2008 Loblaws launched its highly successful “Canada’s Greenest Shopping Bag” program. The Environmental Superstore in Scarborough, Ontario is lauded for its low carbon footprint. In 2011 Loblaws was named Canada’s Greenest Employer. Also in 2011 Loblaws gave over $1 million to WWF-Canada.
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a major benefactor of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The two organizations have cooperated on conserving 100,000 acres. The Foundation also funds eco-research in the Arctic. Winners of the Foundation’s university scholarships, who are often environmentalists, receive mentorship and leadership training. The Weston Family Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow program educates inner city youth about biodiversity and climate change.
Galen’s daughter, Alexandra Weston, is an executive of Holt Renfrew (another Weston company) and a director of WWF-Canada.
Kirsten Hanson is the daughter of Joanna Metcalf and the step-granddaughter of the late George Cedric Metcalf – 1 of Garfield Weston’s lieutenants. The George Cedric Metcalf Foundation, established in 1960, now has assets of $131 million. Kirsten helped manage the Foundation for 20 years but only recently took over the helm from Joanna, who is now Vice Chair. The Foundation gives about 30% of its grants to Canadian enviro-groups. From her Toronto office Kirsten quietly issues dozens of cheques to Canadian enviro-groups totalling $1 to 2 million per year.
Ivey Business School grad, Roger Dickhout, is CEO of the Pineridge Group. This conglomerate owns an all-natural organic dairy and deli food producer (Liberte), a 400-product organic foods processing company (Oakrun Farms/Gourmet Baker), and an eco-friendly household cleaning products manufacturer (Lavo). Pineridge’s main customers are Loblaws and Sobeys. Dickhout is an Investeco advisor. Dickhout is Chair of WWF-Canada. (WWF-Canada’s Honorary Chair is Sonja Bata of the billionaire Bata shoe family.)
Hartley Richardson is the 7th patriarch of a business dynasty founded in 1857 when James Richardson purchased a wharf, warehouse, and grain elevator in London, Ontario. James Armstrong Richardson (1885-1939) moved operations to Winnipeg to better oversee his 250 prairie elevators. James A. was Chancellor of Queen’s University. (His daughter Agnes served as Queen’s Chancellor from 1980 to 1996.)
Richardson International remains focused on grain merchandising and processing but also owns an oil and gas firm and minority stakes in a range of companies. The Richardsons have extensive real estate holdings in Winnipeg and elsewhere. Their net worth is over $5 billion.
Environmental issues are a Richardson Foundation priority. It funds two Wetland Centres for Excellence. In 2009 the Foundation made a $1 million gift to Ducks Unlimited Canada. They also donate money towards saving green space in Winnipeg.
A decade ago Hartley Richardson spearheaded a fundraising drive for the University of Winnipeg that raised over $200 million. In 2006 he personally gave the U of W $3.5 million to endow the Richardson College for the Environment.
Hartley is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Carlyle Group.
During Pierre Trudeau’s reign as Prime Minister (1968-1979 and 1980-1984), a parallel government, mainly lodged in Environment Canada (est. 1971), metastasized across the federal government. Trudeau’s sons carry on his mission.
Future Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (b. 1971) has been an MP for a Montreal riding since 2008. Armed with an M.A. in Environmental Geography from McGill, Justin’s first foray into politics was a 2005 campaign against a zinc mine in the Northwest Territories. Justin ardently supported the Liberal’s Green Shift (carbon tax) platform in the 2008 election. In December 2011, days after Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Accord, in a loud, clear voice in the House of Commons MP Justin Trudeau did call Environment Minister Peter Kent a “piece of shit.”
Filmmaker Alexandre Trudeau (b. 1973) sits on the board of Nature Conservancy of Canada (and on NCC’s pivotal Conservation Committee). Alexandre also adorns the Trudeau Foundation (TF) board.
In the twilight of his political career (2002), PM Chretien endowed TF with $125 million in public funds. One of TF’s main themes is preserving the natural environment. Their mission statement scolds: “Canada must acknowledge the degradation of the natural environment,” and warns: “Environmental justice will drive changes in the economic, political and social order.”
The above list is not a full account of elite Canadian environmentalists. Of 60 Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network (CEGN) members, 55 are Canadian. Only 4 are US foundations, albeit some CEGN members “launder” US philanthropic donations. CEGN does not represent all major Canadian enviro-philanthropists.
Canada is not an innocent victim of American eco-imperialism. We have our own environmental movement and our own eco-oligarchy.
Canada's Green Academic Establishment
Enviro-activist non-profit societies are the environmental movement’s phenotype. They are the movement’s self-presentation. However these societies are also a minor and declining part of the overall movement.
Ascendant parts of the movement include: (a) several green business sectors, (b) government environment ministries, (c) an enviro-legal-regulatory complex, and (d) environmental departments within universities and colleges. Each of these parts is larger and more influential than the enviro-non-profits.
Decades of lobbying and propagandizing has engendered renewable energy, organic foods, hybrid-vehicle, and recycling industries. In terms of revenue and payroll, these industries are magnitudes larger than environmentalism’s non-profit milieu.
The USA has around 12,000 enviro-non-profit societies, most with only a few paid staff. On the other hand, the USA Green Chamber of Commerce has 35,000 for-profit members and is currently seeking to triple that number (supported by Toyota, Union Bank, etc.).
Green businesspeople know their survival depends on state preferences and on the enviro-zeitgeist. A green business is a movement organization.
A more ominous component of environmentalism is its legions of state-embedded activists. Canadian federal departments such as Environment Canada, Parks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada teem with eco-apparatchiks. Provincial environmental, parks, and forestry ministries do as well. Actual numbers are unattainable because state-embedded enviro-activists hide behind a human shield of essential state services such as sanitation, resource management, etc.
The movement has also built a constituency of lawyers specializing in enviro-litigation. Overlapping this constituency, and with enviro-enforcement, is an array of mapping and wildlife analysis firms.
Rarely centred out for discussion are the environmental faculties, sub-departments, and centres within post-secondary educational institutes.
The Canadian University Environmental Science Network lists 40 universities with Environmental Science degree programs. However, Environmental Science is but one type of enviro-degree program. The 80 members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada collectively offer 400 programs with “environmental” in their titles (Environmental Studies, Environmental Biology, Environment & Sustainability, etc). Fifty-three universities offer enviro-degree programs.
The University of Toronto offers 35 enviro-degree programs and provides ancillary environmentalist instruction in 20 departments (Law, Engineering, etc.). U of T’s Centre for the Environment employs 86 professors. The Centre’s Director was paid $161,000 in 2011. The Centre is partnered with the militant Jane Goodall Institute.
B.C.’s niche Royal Roads University (enrollment 4,670) is an academic-environmentalist frontrunner. They offer 9 enviro-degree programs including: Environmental Practice, Environmental Management, and Environmental Education & Communication. Such programs receive most of this university’s budget. Royal Roads houses the Centre for Livelihood and Ecology (specializing in non-timber forest uses) and the Canadian Centre for Environmental Education (a joint venture with the federal government’s Environmental Careers Organization). Peter Robinson, Royal Roads’ former Chancellor, is currently CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation.
Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Environment has 55 professors including Mark Jaccard, who has been there since 1986. Jaccard won a Donner book prize in 2006 and was B.C.’s Academic of the Year in 2008. He has received many plum government appointments and is currently an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author. On May 5, 2012, Jaccard and 12 fellow climate crusaders were arrested for blocking a coal train.
The University of Calgary has an enviro-science “non-department”; i.e. a multidisciplinary jumble of courses capped at 40 students per semester whose education is undertaken in close cooperation with local enviro-non-profits. U of C’s more structured Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy employs 7 full professors in their own ultra-modern building.
York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) employs 40 full-time professors and keeps another 40 on contract. At FES “environmental justice” is a priority. Dean Barbara Rahder (annual salary: $194,000) claims 3,000 FES grads have found employment in government and non-government organizations around the world.
FES pays ecological economist Peter Victor $191,000 a year. He has been an eco-prof for 40 years (FES Dean from 1996 to 2001). Victor was founding President of the Canadian Society of Ecological Economics and has been a member of some 30 government enviro-committees and/or green academic organizations. He is currently Chairman of the Ontario Greenbelt Advisory and a director of the David Suzuki Foundation. His recent opus, Managing without Growth,contends industrial growth is not just ecologically unsustainable but also morally undesirable – because money can’t buy happiness.
Nalini Stewart was on York U’s Board of Governors from 1993 to 2003 and remains an honorary governor. She is currently on the boards of WWF-Canada and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Trent University has several environmental programs. Trent U’s Ecological Restoration Department opens its sales pitch with:
“Become a leader in the Science of Hope. Make your stand in the green revolution…”
Trent U’s Environmental and Resource Studies Department employs 17 full-time professors and 10 outside “lecturers.” Four of these lecturers are leaders of local enviro-non-profits.
Professor Emeritus Robert Paehlke was a Trent U enviro-prof from 1971 to 2005 and was briefly enviro-dean. His salary from 2002 to 2005 averaged $116,000. In 1971 Paehlke, with Trent U funds, founded Alternatives Journal – an influential publication within Canadian environmentalism. Alternatives is the official voice of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada. Paehlke still sits on Alternatives’ 3-member governing board and on its 12-member editorial board. Alternatives is now published by the University of Waterloo with assistance from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment is the fastest growing faculty on campus with 5 departments and 6 research centres catering to 2,100 undergraduate and 400 graduate students.
Self-described “life-long naturalist” Brendon Larsen is a professor at Waterloo U’s Environment and Resource Studies Department. He is the author of 75 enviro-papers and books including the award-winning Metaphors for Sustainability (Yale, 2011). Larsen is a former WWF-Canada director and is currently President of Ontario Nature – an alliance of 140 groups whose 30,000 members make it, according to Larsen, “the largest non-profit environmental organization in Ontario.”
Edmonton’s lavishly funded University of Alberta divides environmental indoctrination across its Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences; Earth & Atmospheric Sciences; and Biology faculties. These 3 faculties employ 272 professors, albeit not all in enviro-programs. Nestled in the Biology faculty is an Ecology Research Interest Group with 33 professors, 14 adjunct professors, and 8 professor emeriti. Almost all these professors receive federal research grants (averaging $200,000) mostly from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
U of A’s David Schindler received an Ecology PhD in 1966 and has been an eco-activist on the Canadian taxpayer’s dime ever since. He has adorned U of A’s Killam Memorial Chair since 1983. (The Killam Trusts, now worth $400 million, were established from the estate of Canada’s ‘mystery man of finance’, Izaak Walton Killam.) U of A’s Schindler Laboratory furnishes Schindler with a platoon of grad students and staff to aid his activist ventures.
Schindler’s anti-oil sands “research” and pronouncements often make headlines. He leapt into the breach to attack the Harper government’s recent cutbacks and Bill C-38.
Schindler is Scientific Advisor for WWF-Canada and the Canadian Boreal Initiative. He has received honorary degrees from 9 Canadian universities.
Upwards of 1,000 professors preach environmentalism at Canadian universities. Students majoring in enviro-degree programs must number around 20,000. There are also enviro sub-departments in Law and Engineering faculties. There is also a college enviro-establishment focused on vocational training and supported by the activist Canadian College Environmental Network.
Peterborough, Ontario’s Fleming College (annual budget $90 million) is a vanguard enviro-college. Fleming offers 20 diploma programs for: Conservation Law Enforcement, Sustainable Agriculture, Ecosystem Management, etc. A Fleming core strategy is to:
“Infuse sustainability across the curriculum and across the student’s experience so that graduates understand and address sustainability issues…”
This is to be achieved in part through cooperation with local environmental groups and through holding conservation competitions between college campuses.
The hundreds of enviro-departments within Canada’s post-secondary educational system have a combined budget far in excess of the combined budgets of Canada’s enviro-non-profits. Environmental academics are more frequently quoted in the media than are representatives of enviro-non-profits.
Academic environmentalists and civil society environmentalists are allies, not competitors. Their objectives are the same. The boundary between these two organizational fields is permeable.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s various chapters have 170 directors and staff. A third of these people brandish enviro-degrees. This ratio is typical among Canadian enviro-non-profits. A common eco-activist career trajectory is to attain your enviro-degree, work for a non-profit for a few years, and then return to university for an upgrade. 50% of enviro-science undergrads return for graduate studies.
The Miistakis Institute is an 8-employee non-profit dedicated to conserving as much of the Rockies as possible. Miistakis receives funding from the Universities of Alberta and Calgary and in turn funds grad students in U of A’s Faculty of Environmental Design. Miistakis’s Chair and Vice-Chair are U of A professors. Scores of similar academic/non-profit combos are found across Canada.
Further integration results from enviro-student societies (U of T’s Environmental Students’ Union, U of Calgary’s Environmental Science Students’ Association, New Brunswick U’s Environmental Action Society, etc.). Such societies use campus resources to “raise awareness” and promote activism. Through documentary screenings, nature hikes, and litter pick-ups they recruit new activists and build solidarity. Enviro-student society rhetoric is identical to that of hyperactive, start-up enviro-non-profits.
In addition, the Sierra Youth Coalition has clubs at 80 post-secondary institutes. The Green Party of Canada has 24 campus clubs.
Enviro-academics dread appearing “ideological.” They need to appear as value-neutral scholars. In reality, they are biased frontline activists who are skewering policy debates over land use and resource development.
The party line of enviro-deans is that they are training students for a growth industry, i.e. that there are abundant jobs for enviro-degree holders. They are dangling dollar signs to boost enrollments. Thus, Bill C-38 and the federal government cut-backs constitute a mortal, albeit indirect, threat to the green academic establishment. (The threat is indirect because educational funding comes overwhelmingly from provincial governments.)
A recent Victoria Times Colonist article recounts how a PhD ecologist recently laid off from Fisheries and Oceans Canada was in a state of shock. She honestly thought an ecology degree was a life-pass aboard a gravy train.
Soon over 100,000 Canadians will have green degrees or diplomas hanging off their walls. They will have brains stuffed with neo-corporatist economic doctrine and neo-pantheist religious dogma, but alas, no job.
Clash of the Titans
The Harper government’s confrontation with the opposition parties over Bill C-38 was the parliamentary manifestation of an epic clash between two titanic constituencies.
In one camp are resource extraction entrepreneurs seeking less fettered access to the treasures of Western and Northern Canada. They look to Asia for investors and customers.
The rival camp are rentiers from Central and Atlantic Canada who are economically and ideologically aligned with their counterparts in Western Europe and the US Northeast. They want to preserve the wealth within their realm. They favour neo-corporatist and quasi-autarkist policies.
At issue is the pace and extent of the development of Canada’s natural resources, especially the petroleum, natural gas, and mineral deposits of Western and Northern Canada.
According to the federal government’s Responsible Resource Development, and accompanying press release, Canada’s natural resource sector directly employed 760,000 workers. Mining and energy account for 10% of Canadian economic activity and 40% of exports. Natural resources form the backbone of our economy.
“It is estimated there could be more than 500 major resource projects representing some $500 billion over the next 10 years in Canada’s energy and mining sectors.”
However the authors caution:
“We are not the only country in the world with rich mineral and energy resources.”
Other countries also possess exploitable natural resources, and the competition for investment and markets is fierce. The time to act is now.
The $50 billion a year investment estimate is a “conservative” figure. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) claims the oil and gas industry alone made investments of $51 billion in 2010. The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) maintains there is $136 billion worth of mining-related projects in the works.
CAPP members produce 90% of Canada’s natural gas and crude oil. According to CAPP, the upstream petroleum industry is Canada’s largest private-sector investor and the provider of 500,000 direct and indirect jobs. They estimate their industry revenues to be $110 billion a year. CAPP unconditionally endorsed Bill C-38.
MAC’s 32 members are the largest mining companies in Canada (Barrick, BHP, Teck, etc.). According to MAC, mining employs 308,000 workers in extraction, smelting, and fabrication. The average weekly wage of a Canadian mineworker is $1,632. Mining companies generate 19% of investment in Canada and pay over $8 billion in taxes and royalties per year. Half of all railcars in Canada are filled with the output of Canada’s mines.
MAC’s 2011 Annual Report complains Canadian environmental regulation is too complicated and unpredictable. The Report denounces the environmental approval process for lacking timetables and accountability. The Canadian mining sector is in dire need of infrastructure investments that are being held up by a cumbersome enviro-regulatory regime.
Unsurprisingly, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) endorsed Bill C-38. CEPA represents companies operating 100,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada and the USA. These pipelines move 1.2 billion barrels of oil and 5.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year. CEPA members transport 97% of Canada’s natural gas and on-shore crude oil. Canada exports $60 billion worth of oil and gas a year.
CEPA wants a streamlined “one project one review” enviro-assessment system with strict timetables. Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline travesty is not unique. Presently 3% to 5% of the costs of building a pipeline in Canada are the costs associated with environmental assessments and related bureaucratic processes.
Also onside is the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) – a lobby group representing 17,000 construction-involved companies. CCA was calling for change before the 2012 budget, and on the day it was introduced into parliament CCA issued a press release explicitly endorsing its proposed reforms to the environmental assessment process.
Even more sanguine was the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC). On March 30, 2012, CCC published a document not merely supporting proposed changes to the environmental assessment regime but taking credit for it. Alongside a giant red-lettered side-bar reading “Achievement” and beneath the bold headline “What We Got For You” CCC boasted:
“The government has acted on key elements of the Canadian Chamber’s ‘Top 10 Program’ for restoring Canadian competitiveness.”
“The government will bring forward legislation to achieve the goal of one project one review in a clearly defined time period.”
CCC members are 192,000 businesses of all sizes and from all sectors of the Canadian economy.
Bill C-38 was also endorsed by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada; the Canadian Building Trades; etc.
Opposition to the Harper government’s revamping of environmental policy arises from those whose fortunes are affixed to that narrow swath of Canada running from the Maritimes, across southern Quebec, through Ottawa, and around the golden horseshoe of Toronto-Windsor. The assets in question are shopping malls, apartment blocks, office towers, gas stations, media outlets, energy utilities, and farms. These assets are mostly owned by 100,000 private individuals and by several dozen banks and institutional investors. Notable members of this vested interest group are provincial and municipal governments, their employees, and these employees’ pension funds. Indicative of the big players within this camp would be the Sobeys, Westons, Irvings, the Desjardin Group, and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
Confronted with the proposition of throwing open for development the natural resources of Western and Northern Canada, the representatives of this vested interest group might well ask:
“What’s in this for us?”
The answer is:
If the Harper program is successful, then Kitimat, Prince George, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Grand Prairie, Fort McMurray, and Prince Albert will burst like popcorn kernels on a hot fry-pan. Hundreds of thousands of tradespeople, entrepreneurs, labourers, tenants, and consumers will emigrate out of Atlantic and Central Canada for points west-by-northwest. This rush will benefit Canadians in general, but it will exert a protracted economic drag on the areas being left behind.
Many in Canada’s old metropoles advocate for renewable energy, recycling, and the “100 mile diet.” Such policies seek to emancipate the metropoles from dependence upon the hinterland and to stem the outflow of money and skills.
Fools believe this clash is about saving caribou.
The above information was drawn primarily from the following 57 websites, the addresses of which are usually indicative of the organizations they represent. Phrases appearing in parentheses following a website address can be used within that website’s search options to access germane information.
http://uwaterloo.ca (Faculty of Environment)
www.canada.gc.ca (LEGISinfo – Bill C-38) (Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) (Environment Canada) (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) (Responsible Resources Development)
www.renewalpartners.com (Endswell Foundation)
www.richardson.ca (Richardson Foundation)
www.sfu.ca (Faculty of Environment)
www.trentu.ca (Ecological Restoration Department) (Environmental and Resource Studies Department)
www.ucalgary.ca (Faculty of Environmental Design) (Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy)
www.utoronto.ca (Centre of Environment)
www.uwinnipeg.ca (Richardson College for the Environment)
www.yorku.ca (Faculty of Environmental Studies)
Over 100 contemporary news articles were read for this posting. Most articles merely provided a play-by-play account of parliamentary shenanigans or were fact-sparse opinion pieces. Some articles of unique value were:
Harnett, Cindy; Fisheries job cutbacks come as a whale of shock, Victoria Times Colonist, May 23, 2012
Saxe, Diane; Do We Still have Federal Environmental Assessments, April 26, 2012 (envirolaw.com)
Blakes Environmental Group; Canadian Government Introduces Legislation to Streamline Environmental Approvals, May 2, 2012
Crocker, David et al (Davies LLP); Federal Government Seeks to Overhaul the Environmental Assessment Process, May 14, 2012 (Mondaq)
The Secret Millionaire, Shared Vision Magazine, January 30, 2008
National Post Staff, Uproar as Justin Trudeau Hurls four-letter Obscenity at Peter Kent in House of Commons, December 14, 2011
O’Neil, Peter; How the Conservatives Brief Love Affair with Environmentalism came to an ugly end, Vancouver Sun, June 7, 2012